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BTS SW Costumes: Concepts and Designs (Note: Image heavy, may contain Ep VII spoilers)

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by ATMachine, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
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  2. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    Lt. Hija What do you think the meaning is of some Imperial officers wearing black uniforms while others wear olive uniforms?
     
  3. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2009

    Just to jump in - I think the Imperials in black are actual officers, those in grey/olive are recruits who don't happen to be stormtroopers. Tech personnel, communications operators, drivers, cooks and the like.
     
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  4. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    darklordoftech and Darth_Nub

    I'd say we first look at all Imperials dressed in black (regulation cap, uniform and/or jumpsuit). We do have - I concur - officers that wear a cap and a jacket and - ideally - a rank badge (this somehow changed with ROJ).
    In contrast we have other "black" personnel wearing jackets with Samurai helmets (security guards and/or controllers) and jumpsuits (TIE pilots, gunners, the chief gunner aboard the Devastator and "myself", witnessing the launch of the escape pod with Artoo and Threepio).

    (regarding the last two guys I had believed for a long time that the screenplay description, i.e. captain and co-pilot, was correct but the "captain" is unmistakingly wearing a jumpsuit, which IMHO usually identifies personnel below officer's rank)

    Then, we have those dressed in olive green uniforms (Tarkin, Motti, Taggi, Commander Number One, Cass, Piett, Ozzel, Veers, Jerjerrod etc.) and normal controllers (Star Destroyer crew pit personnel) with green regulation caps (in contrast to the black regulation caps worn by the scanning team in ANH).

    I'm pretty confident that at least all officers in black belong to the Imperial Guard Corps (John Mollo described the Samurai-helmeted guys belonging to "Vader's Guard Corps") that - put simply - is responsible for all matters of security and intelligence, in a certain manner of speaking the secret service of the Galactic Empire (which perhaps explains why officers in ROJ no longer wear rank badges).

    Those with olive green uniforms belong to what I referred to as the Imperial Military Corps, which probably mostly consists of career officers. I think the analogies to Nazi Germany are obvious, especially the contrast betwenn black ("SS") and green ("Wehrmacht").

    In SW terms I'd say the black guys represent the police of the Galactic Empire while the others represent its national guard.

    Yet, as we saw in ROJ, an officer of the Military Corps (Piett) could give orders to an officer of the Guard Corps ("We're in attack position, now, Sir").
     
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  5. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    Working on the video and I'm just going through all of your posts. I think I might have to disagree with you on the one McQuarrie sketch of Luke and Leia (mostly because I have worked with costume designers with similar styles). I think that Leia is wearing short sleeve ribbed top with under-sleeves and high briefs. What you think is pleating on the top, I think might actually be ribbing, like a knit fabric. The line across horizontal line across her chest might be a dart. I can see that you might interpret that she has a bare midriff and small briefs, but I think what you are seeing is just the gusset of the briefs. It's actually a very retro looking style from the 60s, especially with the mock turtleneck/dickie and the pixie cut (very Twiggy or Mia Farrow)

    What do you think?


     
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  6. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    You're probably right. On closer inspection, I'd say it's a full-bodied long-sleeve leotard of sorts, complete with Superman-style briefs over the pants.

    According to the new Ralph McQuarrie SW Omnibus book, that particular design was meant for "Leia after prison" -- ie, it's what she was wearing under her long white robe. Apparently, there were several concepts for Leia's post-prison garb, all of them featuring greater or lesser clothing damage; some were much less work-safe than others. (In at least one sketch, as I noted previously, Leia's tunic is torn enough to expose one breast.)

    And as for the pasties... as crazy as it sounds, that really was Lucas' idea. But he didn't dream it up himself: he took it from a comment made about a string of jewels by Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter. ("I'd hang you from my nipples, but you'd shock the children.") :p
     
  7. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017

    Wow, it would have been SUCH a different movie! I like the pasties/chain idea. Haha! So excited about the video. I got a lot done today. It is going to be SO awesome. I've been wanting someone else to do it and there isn't one out there so it will be us! I'd also like to get a bio from you. I want to give you a writing credit and I will be a contributor. I'm just doing New Hope for now and if it catches on I will do othere movies. I've done three Game of Thrones and I have to do another. They are the most popular but with all of the new Star Wars movies there is a whole new audience.
     
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  8. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    NB: the one-bare-breast idea was probably inspired by concept art from the 1933 King Kong. Unlike the final film, the concept art gave Fay Wray's character black hair; likewise, McQuarrie seems to have drawn Leia with dark hair only when exploring that particcular costume variant.

    Also, if you look closely at some of the McQuarrie storyboards of a blonde Leia, she's not only topless, one side of her head has been shaved! I belive the original idea here was that the Imperials actually installed a droid port in her skull to try and extract the location of the Rebel base from her memories. :(
     
  9. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    ATMachine wrote

    Also, if you look closely at some of the McQuarrie storyboards of a blonde Leia, she's not only topless, one side of her head has been shaved!

    Sounds a lot as if THX 1138 still influenced Lucas up to some point... ;)
     
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  10. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017

    I'm not sure where I heard this - most likely my older brother who back in the seventies was a huge Star Wars fan - had said that the reason that the Stormtroopers were white was because they are not actually villains as they are merely slaves doing the bidding of those that enslave them. At that time, we didn't know that they were clones but there was an understanding that they were being mind controlled. It is evident in A New Hope when they can easily have their thoughts and actions controlled by Obi Wan. Brother had also told me that Luke and Leia are in white because they are clearly the good guys, while Han is mostly in black because he has a questionable moral compass. But he does wear a white cowboy shirt, indicating that underneath his exterior, lies a good guy.

    By the way, you should see Westworld. So good. Similar themes as Star Wars.
     
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  11. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    It's interesting that they would put the droid port in her skull, considering that Vader would be able to do mind control on her. I suppose during early drafts of the script, Vader did not use mind control tactics.
     
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  12. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    I think I might have uncovered Leia's bun controversies:

    George said this to Time Magazine is 2002: “In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn't fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico. Then it took such hits and became such a thing. In the new trilogy, the same thing applies, to try and do something timeless. I'm just basically having a good time.”

    These “Southwestern Pancho Villa women” as Lucas calls them were the Soldaderas, often called Adelitas, women in the military who participated in the conflict of the Mexican Revolution between 1910 - 1920, ranging from commanding officers to combatants to camp followers.

    But according to Brandon Alinger, the author of Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy (as you know) the buns do not even appear in any of the concept artwork done for Leia in the preparation of the film.

    Tabea Linhard, author of Fearless women in the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War, tells the BBC in a recent interview, "As much as I would like to say that Princess Leia's hairstyle was based on the 'soldaderas' from the Mexican Revolution, this was probably not the case.“ And as blogger Michael Heilemann writes in his post, Princess Hair, he findsNary a bun amongst the lot.”

    One famous photograph of a Hopiland Beauty from Arizona by renown Native American photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis bears some resemblance to the buns, but as Heilman points out, Padme wears a hairstyle almost exactly like it in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

    So perhaps Lucas was thinking of Padme, considering that the interview with Time and the movie were released in the same year.

    I can upload the pictures, but how do I do that?
     
  13. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    You'll need a webhost of your own. Or make an account on a site like Photobucket. As long as it's SFW, you ought to be able to post it here without problems.
     
  14. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    I suspect the scene in Rogue One with K-2SO drilling into the head of another droid was an homage to this particular aspect of 1975 SW.
    Re: Luke and Leia both wearing white - yes, that's intentional. But Luke's white is a dirty, khaki color, suggesting his connection to the organic world, while Leia's white is stark and bright, connecting her to the world of robots and technology. This also was a deliberate choice by Lucas and costume designer John Mollo.


    And yes, I have seen Westworld. Great show.
     
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  15. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    What is SFW?
     
  16. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Safe For Work. In other words, something that won't get you an R rating from the MPAA. :p
     
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  17. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    Haha! I wasn't planning on putting up anything R rated.
     
  18. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

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    Jan 3, 2017
    I found a great breakdown of this for ANH: http://www.theforce.net/swtc/insignia/uniforms.html#blackjump

    Essentially, the Naval officers like Tarkin, Motti and Tagge on the Death Star in Olive (sometimes with hats) are Commissioned Officers while the ones in black with soft hats like Treidum and Tanbris are Sub-Officers or Non-Commisioned Officers (NCO).

    Wullf Yularen is an Imperial Colonel in the Galactic Empire's Imperial Security Bureau wears a white jacket with black trousers.

    The ones in black wearing an open blast helmet (Samurai style) are Naval Guard or Death Star Troopers. Those with the black enclosed targeting-computer helmet are Gunnery Crewmen.

    The Stormtrooper Officers on the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator, such as Praji and Daine Jir wear solid black uniforms.

    There are some other uniforms like Enlisted Soldier or Off-Duty Uniform, but most of those are on background players.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    A thought occurred to me about GL's early plans for Leia running around topless. Before he decided to make SW, he was considering filming Burrough's Barsoom stories. What did Princess Deejah Thoris wear in those tales? Nothing but a few bits of strategically placed jewelry. I'm guessing Leia's early costume concepts were a holdover from those plans, and eventually culminated in the infamous bikini.
     
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  20. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    heidi50 wrote

    I found a great breakdown of this for ANH: http://www.theforce.net/swtc/insignia/uniforms.html#blackjump

    Essentially, the Naval officers like Tarkin, Motti and Tagge on the Death Star in Olive (sometimes with hats) are Commissioned Officers while the ones in black with soft hats like Treidum and Tanbris are Sub-Officers or Non-Commisioned Officers (NCO).

    I never understood this desire to break the "Imperial Forces" (that's all they are ever referred to in the films) down into a navy and an army. The closest analogy that fits the Imperial Forces, IMHO, is England's Royal Navy at the time of Horatio Nelson as our oceans have become space and islands have become planets.

    I'm pretty confident that's what costume designer John Mollo had in mind when he redesigned the Imperial rank badges or plaques for TESB, and dropped the color orange as these now reflected only red (uniform color of the Royal Marines nicknamed "Lobsters") and blue (uniform color of HMS naval officers).

    While it's no secret that George Lucas apparently never really cared about an accurate rank hierarchy (e.g. ROJ, can't help but wonder if there might have been more diversity had either Gary Kutz or John Mollo stayed aboard), I always considered the mix of "army" and "naval" ranks as a strong hint that it's a combined service, although that particular mix has obviously not attained a lot of popularity, although it takes place in a galaxy far, far away and things might be somewhat different there.

    Hence a general (Taggi) could be the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Starfleet (still find it hard to believe that the Rogue One producers didn't catch that and felt his rank was only "commander", revealed by Krennic's rank badge at the beginning of RO), while an admiral (Motti) could be in charge of something else than the Imperial Starfleet (i.e. the Death Star).

    Wullf Yularen is an Imperial Colonel in the Galactic Empire's Imperial Security Bureau wears a white jacket with black trousers.

    That's always been an EU conjecture, since no original materials ever indicated the meaning of that particular uniform (and nobody at Lucasfilm ever cared to ask John Mollo). The technicians seen in Bay 327, in particular those transporting the scanning equipment to the Falcon were also wearing black hats, thus it's also possible that the elderly guy at the Death Star conference ('Yularen') and the other were staff members of the Engineering Corps that joined the conference in case technical questions might have come up that needed answers. Since Vader was present, the attendance of the Security Bureau wasn't really necessary.

    IMHO this was further emphasized when one of these guys approached Tarkin after they had arrived in the Alderaan System, delivered a message to Tarkin but was cut off by a gesture of Tarkin's arm that I still read as "enough, not now" (as Leia was approaching and Tarkin definitely did not want Leia to accidentally hear anything that suggested that he was about to destroy her home planet of Alderaan).

    Perhaps he told Tarkin "We are on the outskirts of the system and within firing range. We await your order." (originally delivered by Motti in the ANH script from January 1, 1976, ultimately he only said "We've entered the Alderaan system.") which IMHO would be a message that should have been delivered by an engineer and/or navigator.

    Anyway, I think Rogue One has now answered that question with Director Krennic who apparently belongs to an Imperial branch that's closer to the Engineering Corps than the Imperial Security Bureau or Guard Corps.

    The ones in black wearing an open blast helmet (Samurai style) are Naval Guard or Death Star Troopers.

    Imperial security guards and controllers would probably be more appropriate as their presence is neither limited to spaceships ("naval") nor the Death Star. ;)

    The Stormtrooper Officers on the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator, such as Praji and Daine Jir wear solid black uniforms.

    I was never able to follow that theory. Commander Praji (that's what the rank badge "commander" most likely looked like at the time of ANH) wears the same uniform as the Imperial security guards (Mollo: "Vader's Guard Corps"), thus it stands to reason, IMHO, that regulation caps merely identify officers of the Guard Corps while those wearing a Samurai helmet are not officers.

    To add some more to the uniform costume discussion - this thread seems appropriate - I'll enclose the findings of my research from many years ago, trying to decipher what costume designer John Mollo might have had in mind, regarding the Imperial rank badges of ANH, ESB and - to some extent - also ROJ (colorized and updated October 2015 for better Illustration and cross-referenced with the rank badges of the Alliance):

    [​IMG]

    I forwarded this to West End Games back in the late 80's, but they only featured the ESB and ROJ rank badges (the ANH rank badges, the rank badges for the 'Engineering Corps' and the rank badges for the 'Administrative Corps' - e.g. Tarkin - were not illustrated in their Imperial Sourcebook).
     
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  21. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    There's an amusing Star Trek analogy with the insignia changes from SW 1977 to ESB - rather like how the Trek uniforms changed so radically from series to series. Even the goof in ROTJ where everybody's blazoned a commander has a Star Trek parallel: in TOS each ship had its own insignia shape, but in TMP and afterwards all of Starfleet started using the Enterprise's originally unique arrowhead logo.
     
  22. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    ATMachine

    As a matter of fact - while compiling the Imperial rank badges illustrated above - I also examined the ST issue you mentioned. :D

    I noticed that every seven years there seemed to be a general change of uniforms and equipment in Star Trek's starfleet. It would appear that to honor the achievements of a Federation starship ST's starfleet would adopt its insignia as the insignia for all starfleet uniforms for the length of such a period, i.e. during TOS that honor previously went to the USS Lexington (also notice Wesley's large command chair, something not present on the bridges of the USS Enterprise, the USS Exeter and the USS Defiant). By the time of TMP that honor had gone to the USS Enterprise (apparently combined with another ship with a circular insignia), and again to honor the Enterprise missions under Captain Spock, illustrated by the TWOK insignia, but eventually and admittedly that system got stuck with the Enterprise insignia. ;)

    But as for Star Wars I merely believe that after the shocking and unexpected destruction of the Death Star, some restructuring happened among the Imperial Forces, resulting in the rank badges we then saw in ESB and ROJ - though Rebels seems to disagree as Admiral Konstantine and Imperial lieutenants already wear ESB rank badges in a time period set before ANH which I dismiss as a continuity error (because ANH clearly revealed what the rank badge of "admiral" looked like).

    On the other hand, if Tarkin's rank badge identified him as governor general - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor-general - "Grand Moff" could suggest that - then we'd probably would also have a rank (badge) "governor" below and a rank (badge) "grand admiral" above, if we follow the real world analogies from the British and Dutch colonies.

    If Rebels Admiral Konstantine were to hold the rank of "grand admiral" the continuity issue could probably be solved, but then the same kind of rank would then apply to Director Krennic, though I would prefer to believe that he was merely holding the highest rank in the 'Engineering Corps', that became obsolete by the time of ESB, and thus (t)his rank badge could be adopted to indicate the new "admiral" for ESB.
     
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  23. heidi50

    heidi50 Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jan 3, 2017

    Thank you so much for this, especially the chart! I found another one, that obviously was adjusted from Mollo's original rankbadgesdesign, but it didn't correspond with any of the officers of ANH. I am also encountering similar issues with thebloodstripeson both Luke's ceremonial uniform pants and Han's pants from ANH. It appears thatbloodstripesare a Marine Corps thing, and I don't think that Mollo could have possibly developed the Corellianbloodstripes.

    I'm not much of a military history person, although I enjoy studying the history of military uniforms. I just saw Rogue one the other day, so I see what you mean by Director Krennic. I'm going to study this more closely, given this new information. :)
     
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  24. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Actually, John Mollo could totally have developed the Corellian blood-stripes, because he's a military history & uniforms expert. That was why GL hired him - Mollo had written extensive books on the history of military uniforms, and he had experience simulating real-world military equipment from the WWI era on films like Nicholas and Alexandra. He may be a Brit, but he's so much of an expert on military costume it'd be fantastically unlikely he didn't know about US Marine bloodstripes.

    Interestingly, per The Making of Star Wars, one of John Mollo's drawings of Han's costume gave his pants gold stripes, a detail eventually used in ESB and ROTJ.
     
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  25. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Not exactly a costume, per se, but this medical illustration of congenital syphilis from around the 1870s seems to have been ROTJ production designer Norman Reynolds' inspiration for at least one sketch of Darth Vader unmasked.

    WARNING: Do not click the link above if you are at work, or squeamish, or happen to be eating something. It's rather gross and thus NSFW (even if it is hosted on Wikimedia).

    Compare that with the Reynolds sketch of unmasked Vader:

    [​IMG]

    It's obvious the one image is based on the other -- the outsized right eye and oddly rounded skull are a dead giveaway. Of course, in the finished cut of ROTJ, Lucas opted to give Vader a much less horrific, and more easily pitiable, appearance.

    PS: the subject of the illustration in question happens to be a 16-year-old girl. Which was Leia's age in the shooting scripts of SW. An uncanny coincidence?